WALLY Lewis is a giant of Australian sport. He captained Queensland in 30 rugby league State of Origin matches, which makes him something of an expert when it comes to the temperament required to succeed in high-pressure situations.
However, the Channel 9 commentator has had more than his share of battles.
When he had an epileptic seizure live on air in 2006, his world came crashing down around him.
The medical condition he’d spent two decades hiding from the public was brutally exposed. It seemed the only solution was one that terrified him— brain surgery.
He had the surgery in 2007 and it was a tough road to recovery. Lewis admitted he was in the depths of despair and had suicidal thoughts while trying to get his life back together. Those who know Lewis well say he emerged from the period a more compassionate, patient and humble person. How’s your health? Pretty good. It’s been six years, three months and two weeks (since surgery). It seems pretty remarkable you can quote that in years, months and weeks. I just remember. I spend a lot of time speaking to people about epilepsy, how to deal with it and which way they can go (with treatment). What doesNSWneed to do to break Queensland’s winning streak? The Blues have got a great side. And Laurie Daley will bring great experience to the table. It’s very much a case of making things right on the night. The end result is about busting your butt, giving your all and working well as a team. What does Queensland need to do to stay on top? Is there any danger complacency could bring them undone? Mal Meninga (coach) has been spending time with some of the (younger) blokes making sure they understand exactly what State of Origin is all about. You’ve got to remember, when I was growing up, you’d be happy if Queensland scored (in an origin game). You certainly never expected them to win. So what is your prediction for the series? It’s a waste of time asking me for an unbiased prediction. In the history of the game I’ve never tipped any other way, nor will I now. Rugby League State of Origin: Game 1, Channel 9, today, 7.30pm